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- DescriptionOne of the delights of Russian literature, a tour de force that has been compared to the best of Nabokov and Bulgakov, Yuri Olesha's vella Envy brings together cutting social satire, slapstick humor, and a wild visionary streak. Andrei is a model Soviet citizen, a swaggeringly self-satisfied mogul of the food industry who intends to revolutionize modern life with mass-produced sausage. Nikolai is a loser. Finding him drunk in the gutter, Andrei gives him a bed for the night and a job as a gofer. Nikolai takes what he can, but that doesn't mean he's grateful. Griping, sulking, grovelingly abject, he despises everything Andrei believes in, even if he envies him his every breath. Producer and sponger, insider and outcast, master and man fight back and forth in the pages of Olesha's anarchic comedy. It is a contest of wills in which thing is sure except the incorrigible human heart. Marian Schwartz's new English translation of Envy brilliantly captures the energy of Olesha's masterpiece.
- Author BiographyYuri Olesha (1899-1960), the son of an impoverished land-owner who spent his days playing cards, grew up in Odessa, a lively multicultural city whose literary scene also included Isaac Babel. Olesha made his name as a writer with Three Fat Men, a proletarian fairy tale, and had an even greater success with Envy in 1927. Soon, however, the ambiguous nature of the novella's depiction of the new revolutionary era led to complaints from high, followed by the collapse of his career and the disappearance of his books. In 1934, Olesha addressed the First Congress of Soviet Writers, arguing that a writer should be allowed the freedom to choose his own style and themes. For the rest of his life he wrote very little. A memoir of his youth, No Day Without a Line, appeared posthumously. Ken Kalfus's most recent book is a novel, The Commissariat of Enlightenment. He is also the author of two short story collections, Thirst and Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies.
- Author(s)Yuri Olesha
- PublisherThe New York Review of Books, Inc
- Date of Publication03/01/2004
- SubjectDrama Texts, Plays & Screenplays
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintNYRB Classics
- Content NoteIllustrations
- Weight180 g
- Width127 mm
- Height203 mm
- Spine127 mm
- Translated byMarain Schwartz
- Introduction byKen Kalfus
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